Each entrant will try out for a panel of five judges in one of five cities‹Utrecht, the Netherlands; St. Petersburg, Russia; Lugano, Switzerland; New York City; and Fort Worth‹during January and February 2005. Thirty competitors will be selected for the finals.
The five judges are John Giordano, the longtime chairman of the jury and former music director of the Fort Worth Symphony; Marcello Abbado, a pianist and composer and vice-president of the Orchestra Verdi in Milan; Thomas Frost, a producer for Sony Classical; Yoheved Kaplinsky, chair of the piano department at the Juilliard School; and J‹rgen Meyer-Josten, a pianist and former head of Bavaraian radio,
The 147 entrants‹53 women and 94 men‹come from 34 countries, of which Russia, the United States, and China boast the highest number of representatives. Each submitted an extensive written application with proof of recent recitals, reviews, and letters of recommendation.
According to Richard Rodzinski, president of the Van Cliburn Foundation, the field this year is particularly strong. "There appear to be an unusually high number of pianists who, based on their past accomplishments and recommendations, stand an excellent chance of becoming a new Cliburn medalist," he said.
The prestigious quadrennial competition was founded in 1962, four years after pianist Van Cliburn stunned the classical music world by winning the Tchaikovsky International Competition‹he is still the only American to have done so‹and is held in his hometown.